"Because a picture is worth a thousand words"
Photo sharing has become increasingly popular in the last few years as a way for associations, clubs and nonprofits to publish or distribute their digital photos online. As a result, many of the photo sharing websites that host these photos have become useful sources and practical tools for managing photos online.
Using a photo sharing site is an easy way to share your nonprofit's event, conference or holiday photos on the web in a creative way. Photo sharing sites allow one or more users to upload photos to a main account and share those photos by email, instant messenger or by posting the slideshows on your favorite social networking site, website or blog.
I took some time to review and search through a number of slideshow tools to find one that 1) works consistently across browsers, 2) is classy looking, 3) easy to use, 4) free. In no particular order, here are the 10 slideshow tools that I found.
One of the most well known photo sharing sites is Flickr. Flickr is a photo sharing website and web services suite, as well as an online community platform. In addition to being a popular web site for users to share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. All you need to do is organize your photos into sets or collections, or just tag them after uploading them onto Flickr and sending the view as a slideshow link of the set or tag to your friends or clients. Flickr is free. However, you may need a Pro account for $24.95 USD per year in case of hitting the monthly bandwidth, file size or other limitations of your free account.
Slideoo is a new web application for Flickr users that lets you create horizontal streaming slideshows of your Flickr photos. To use Slideoo, you'll need to already be a registered member of Flickr. To create a slideshow, simply visit Slideoo and enter a Flickr username. After customizing the slideshow width, image size, and number of pictures, Slideoo quickly compiles the images into a scrollable format. Finally, quickpost or embed code into the platform of your choice. Slideoo is also free of charge.
SimpleViewer is a free, customizable Flash image viewing application from Airtight Interactive. It presents users with a simple and easy way to view 9 of the gallery photos and easily page through thumbnails. A simple click on a thumbnail will change the main image to the selected photo. Creating your own SimpleViewer gallery is easy. There are 5 options for creating a SimpleViewer gallery -- svManager, Automatic via Desktop software, Automatic via Server-side Script, Manual, FlickrViewer and using wordpress. There is also a section for advanced users who wish to customize the SimpleViewer file structure or XML data source.
Jumpcut is a free, video publishing site with a full featured on-line video and slideshow editing tool. With an easy to understand Flash interface you can rearrange and trim clips and add snazzy transitions. You can upload your images or have Jumpcut transfer your photos from Flickr. You can remix a video and repost it. You can also email video from the video camera on your mobile phone to the site. This service is in Flash and the web 2.0 slideshow editor does not require anything else than your browser and is really easy to use.
Soundslides is a simple, affordable way of getting audio-visual presentations onto the web. Soundslides will output an easy to view, simple to navigate presentation ready to be viewed in any browser. Users can then view presentations regardless of their operating system, as the only requirement is the ever present Flash Plugin. SoundSlides is not free. It's available for both Mac and PC and comes in two versions: a basic version which runs $39.95 and a pro version that costs $69.95.
Photobucket offers free tools for making slideshows of photos, videos and music, and users can share their media with friends by email, IM and mobile phone. It is an extremely popular site with MySpace users and is a great tool for uploading photos and emdedding them in blogs. With Photobucket, members can choose from free or paid plans to store and share their images and videos. Free accounts provide 1 GB of free storage (~10,000 images), 10 GB of bandwidth, and limited image sizes and content length.
Imageloop allows users to create and design their own animated slideshows for displaying digital photos. These slideshows can be published on blogs and on social networking sites. It is also fairly easy to use and no technical expertise is required. To get started, select "Create Slideshow" from the menu at the top of the page. By clicking on "Add Photos" you can use multiple sources to upload your photos. Once you have started to upload your photos you can give your Slideshow an individual look. Add a title and a brief description to your photos so that they appear on your Slideshow too. You can also use the option "Edit Slideshow" to choose the style of your Slideshow, the color of the text and many other features. Once you have designed and saved your Slideshow, you can display it on the web or send it to your friends.
Slide is the MySpace user´s choice tool for showing off their favorite pictures in a creative way. The slide shows can be added to websites, put in RSS feeds, and sent to your desktop as a screensaver. There´s a Slide toolbar you can add to IE for easy uploading and hosting. Skins are also available to put around your YouTube videos for extra control over what you´re viewing. News clippings and different information can be added as well. Viewers can make comments in your guestbook and you can view them all on a map that pinpoints their location.
SmugMug is a popular online photo sharing site launched about four years ago. It is very user-friendly (not a small deal for volunteers and staff in any non-profit!) and offers lots of options for you as well as the people you are sharing your photos with. SmugMug allows you to post photos and add captions and footers to your photos to let people know what's happening in each photo. The site also offers excellent ways to share your pictures with others, and it lets you browse other people's collections by keyword tags, similar to Flickr. There are a lot of other features that SmugMug offers. Smugmug has a great mapping feature that allows users to map their pictures. There is also a Google Earth feeds for each user. Another key feature is the PhotoRank where viewers, whether they have a SmugMug account or not, can give a photo a thumb up or a thumb down and it will contribute to its popularity ranking on the site. So people can see at a glance what a given SmugMug customer's most popular photos are or the most popular photos tagged with some keyword tag.
Zooomr is a free photo-sharing and hosting service similar to Flickr. It supports multiple languages (nearly 12) and geotagging. One of its more interesting features called “portals“. Portals are clickable zones that link photos together. Users can create all sorts of complex portals and share them with friends. Zooomr is free. There is no upload limit, bandwidth limit, download limit, file size limit, set limit, or number of photo limits. You can also blog a photo.Just click on the magnifying glass above a photo and choose what size you want. Then you can simply cut and paste the html code that Zooomr generates into your blog.
As you can see, there are many choices, but my favorite one would be Flickr for ease of use, simplicity and price. What other photo sharing sites have you tried and which one do you prefer?
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